Henry Highland Garnet
Henry Highland Garnet was the first African American to speak before the
House of Representatives, and one of the founders of the American and
Foreign Anti-Slavery Society. At first an advocate of moral suasion, or
the use of lecturing and moral persuasion to sway public opinion, he later
turned his attention to political lobbying. At the National Negro Convention
of 1843 in Albany, NY, Garnet’s growing militancy became apparent
in a controversial speech. His “An Address to the Slaves of the
United States of America” called for slaves to free themselves.
Disheartened by the hostile treatment of blacks in America, Garnet took
a stance unpopular among black activists by supporting African colonization.
He spent the last months of his life as minister to Liberia, a country
in west Africa colonized by American ex-slaves and black freemen.